Chew the Fat

Thatched roofs were certainly warm in winter and cool in summer.  These advantages were welcome to other creatures than man.  The canopied bed came into existence to protect the sleeper from bugs and insects dropping from the thatch.

Outside cats and dogs loved to climb up and rest or spread themselves out on the straw.  They would tend to slip off and tumble to the ground occasionally, especially at the onset of a shower.  Hence the expression, ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’.

The well-off could install some flooring in their homes but the poor had to make do with an earthen floor.  Hence the expression, ‘dirt poor’.  The slate floors of the wealthy would sometimes in winter be spread  with thresh [the straw residue of the threshing process] to save people from slipping.  A piece of wood was placed at the entrance to prevent this blowing or spreading outside the house.  It was a ‘thresh hold’.

The poor often had to boil to a stew in a large pot, all vegetables they could get their hands on, and the stew might do several days, a little new vegetables being added from time to time.  The rhyme was
‘Peas, porridge hot,

Peas, porridge cold,

Peas, porridge in the pot,

Nine days old’.

On a rare occasion, they might have some little meat.  It was a proud moment when visitors called, to hang up a pork side.  It was a sign of wealth when a man could ‘bring home the bacon’.  Slivers could be cut off for visitors and they all could ‘chew the fat’. 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.